McDonald, shut down for year, has labrum tear
Ben McDonald looked at the positive side Saturday night after the Baltimore Orioles decided to ground him for the season because of the recurring stiffness in his right shoulder from a small tear in his right labrum.
"They found a 6-millimeter tear in there," McDonald said. "It may have been from the fall [on a diving play Aug. 28]. But they said it also could be something from a long time ago.
"This was not a wasted year," he said. "I learned a lot of valuable things about pitching because I didn't have my good fastball. I learned I could finesse guys, get them out with changeups and off-speed pitches."
McDonald will not throw again until about mid-November. Dr Charles Silberstein, the team orthopedist, recommended six to eight weeks of rest for the shoulder.
"I'll go back and forth between here and home [Louisiana]," McDonald said. "I'll have it examined as necessary."
Relief pitcher Mark Williamson earned his first victory since June 30 yesterday for his 1 1/3 -inning performance in the Orioles' 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Williamson, who had struggled since he came off the disabled list on Sept. 1, turned in his second solid outing in two days. He pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings on Saturday night and did not give up a hit after he replaced rookie Arthur Rhodes in the seventh inning yesterday.
It has not been a pleasant season for Williamson, who missed more than two weeks after he suffered a pulled muscle in his rib cage during an Aug. 13 doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. The entire season has been a struggle for consistency, as evidenced by his sub-.500 record and 4.48 ERA.
He was a combined 18-7 with a 2.62 ERA his two previous seasons. Now, he's just trying to re-establish himself as the club's right-handed setup man, a role he was in danger of ceding to submariner Todd Frohwirth.
Olson's 28th save
Relief stopper Gregg Olson pitched a perfect ninth to record his 28th save of the year, but the inning featured an unusual strategic move by Indians manager Mike Hargrove.
Hargrove sent up rookie Ed Taubensee to the plate to pinch hit with two out, even though Taubensee is 0-for-20 at the major-league level this year.
"He's a guy who has a chance to hit it out," Hargrove said. "With Olson pitching, I thought a left-hander would have a better chance than a right-hander would."
Taubensee struck out and looked bad doing it.
The 30-homer club
Cal Ripken set a career high with his 29th homer of the year on Saturday night and moved within one home run of joining a couple of exclusive clubs.
He would be the eighth Oriole to hit 30, joining Eddie Murray (five times), Boog Powell (four times), Frank Robinson (three times), Jim Gentile (twice), Gus Triandos, Ken Singleton and Larry Sheets. He would be the fourth major- league shortstop to do so, joining Ernie Banks (five times), Vern Stephens (twice) and Rico Petrocelli.
Mesa on the basepaths
Oates used pitcher Jose Mesa as a pinch runner for Glenn Davis on Saturday night after he ran low on position players in an 11-inning game.
"I don't know about [Luis] Mercedes because we haven't timed him, but Mesa is probably the third fastest guy on our team," Oates said. "In anything longer than a mile, he's probably the fastest."
Only Mike Devereaux and Brady Anderson are considered speedier than Mesa. "He can run," Devereaux said of Mesa. "Me, I'm a quarter-miler. I'd have to concede after that."
Albert Belle's first-inning home run was the first homer allowed by an Orioles pitcher in 8 games. It had been 68 innings since Royals 1B George Brett homered in the sixth inning Sept. 7. The Orioles out-homered the opposition, 17-3, during the 10-game homestand, but needed yesterday's victory to end up better than .500 (6-4). . . . The Orioles wives raised more than $48,000 with the Sept. 4 Cruise for Kids. Proceeds went to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.